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To Life, Love and Happiness | Rangefinder

Toasts are one of photographer Matt Wilson‘s favorite parts of the wedding day.

“It’s a time when the people who know the couple the most reminisce with laughter, tears and embarrassing stories,” he explains. “When I can, I like catching that final moment, when everyone’s attention is focused on the couple, celebrating and congratulating them with their glasses up, in a dramatic way.”

At Eve and John’s wedding reception, which took place at Della Terra Mountain Chateau in Estes Park, Colorado, it was the perfect opportunity to create some drama for that moment.

“The large, west-facing windows let in the colors of the sunset, which contrasts with the yellow ambient light inside,” says the photographer. “I positioned myself to take advantage of the symmetry of the room and used the u-shaped head table and the draped beams to frame the scene. I had my lighting assistant hold her light pointed toward the couple, which focuses the viewer to the center of the scene and is where the best man is just finishing his toast. It’s like a big group hug with everyone in the room directing their love and attention at Eve and John.”

Another aspect of this photo that makes it extra special, adds Wilson, is that it incorporates the couple’s unity candle in the center of the two families and an infinity heart in the window, both of which were designed and handmade by the bride’s parents.

Wilson says his assistant was actually in the frame toward the left hand corner, and he later cloned her out in post. “I always work with a lighting assistant for the versatility of lighting different angles in the best way possible and when an opportunity like this presents itself, we can adjust in the moment. For receptions, I’ll have an on-camera light (a Godox V1) to bounce off the ceiling or a wall and to trigger my assistant’s off-camera light (an AD 200). In this case, I turned off my on camera light and only used it as a trigger for my assistant’s light.”

(Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark IV, 16-35mm f/2 lens, the Godox V1 and AD 200.)

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